Saturday, 26th Week in Ordinary Time           

            In Hebrew culture, snakes and scorpions were symbols of various kinds of evil. So when Jesus gave his disciples power to tread upon serpents and scorpions, he meant giving them power to overcome evil. But triumph over evil is not to be the main cause of joy for the disciples. Their deepest joy comes from knowing that they are loved by God – so deeply loved that “their names are written in heaven.” It means that they are citizens of heaven, that they are friends of God and approved by him, and will be permitted to dwell with him.

            Our joy is also rooted in God’s unconditional love for us. And our ultimate joy is to have our names written in heaven – that is, to be with God in eternal happiness. This is of far more value than earthly honor, power or wealth. It is far more important than being endowed with education and learning, with titles and degrees, with talents and abilities, with money and possessions. There lies greater honor in saving one’s soul than in performing mighty deeds. We must strive, with God’s grace, to save our souls than to perform mighty deeds or miracles.

            All those who advance to the Kingdom becomes the children of God, and their names are written in heaven. Isn’t this what we are striving for, that is, to have our names written in heaven? May we not be so obsessed with earning so much money or with achieving or accomplishing a lot of things, so much so that we neglect to nourish our souls. May we not be so consumed with our inordinate desires, with self-indulgence or with worldly entertainment, so much so that we abandon the gospel values. May we not be so fixated on personal plans and projects or on our selfish interests and ambitions, so much so that we fail to perform or accomplish the mission God entrusted to us. May we not spend our life on trying too hard “to make a name” for ourselves in this world, but have our names blotted out in heaven because we failed to work for the kingdom of God.

            Indeed, our ultimate joy is to dwell with God. Let us strive to have our names written in heaven and be with God in his kingdom.

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